Toronto Police Service (TPS) has arrested 10 individuals, including six teenagers, in connection to a series of armed robberies at multiple pharmacies. The arrests are the result of an investigation dubbed Project Mayhem, which has led to 60 charges being laid in relation to 26 robberies occurring in the Greater Toronto Area between December 8, 2022 and February 10, 2023.
The six youths arrested were all under the age of 18, including two 14-year-olds. TPS Chief James Harris noted in a February 15 press conference that there was a record number of 124 pharmacy robberies in Toronto in 2022, with 69 percent of those arrested being young persons. In the first two months of 2023, there have already been 45 pharmacy robberies, with 67 percent of those arrested being young persons.
When asked what motivated the youths to commit such crimes, Harris said there is “a clear demand for prescription narcotics” and that they are “lured by the quick money that they can make by returning or selling these prescription narcotics on the street.” Harris noted that “upwards of $60 per pill can be made in some areas.”
The robberies were described as “takeover-style,” in which several males would rush into the pharmacy and make demands for both narcotics and cash. Some suspects allegedly used a handgun, while others used a knife or physical violence to control any shoppers or employees inside the stores. After obtaining cash and narcotics, the suspects would then flee in a waiting vehicle.
The Hold Up Squad of TPS, along with the York Region Hold Up Squad, the Peel Region Central Robbery Bureau, and the Halton Region Robbery Unit, conducted multiple arrests on four different dates. The first two arrests were on January 24, 2023, shortly after a robbery, when officers identified a stolen vehicle with two males inside. A 15-year-old Toronto boy and a 14-year-old Toronto boy were arrested and face over 30 charges each.
On January 30, 2023, shortly after a pharmacy robbery, officers identified a suspected stolen vehicle with three males inside. Nathan Kelly, 20, Terrance Timm, 19, and Armani Brown, 18, were arrested and face multiple robbery-related charges.
Three additional underage male suspects were identified through the investigation and arrested on February 9, 2023. The suspects, aged 17, 16, and 14, face multiple robbery-related charges.
Finally, on February 10, Jahshaide Clarke, 20, and a 17-year-old boy were arrested and charged with robbery-related crimes after seven pharmacy robberies occurred in the Halton Region and Toronto. Clarke, of Mississauga, was charged with eleven counts of robbery, eleven counts of disguise with intent, use of a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence, possession of property obtained by crime, and eleven counts of failure to comply with release order. The 17-year-old Mississauga boy was charged with ten counts of robbery, ten counts of disguise with intent, and carrying a concealed weapon, among others.
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